Book Review: Acrylic Revolution by Nancy Rayner

Review by Gracie Emmerson

Quick note, I will be reviewing the techniques and recommendations of this book. I would like to evaluate the explanations/demonstrations shown and materials recommended.

Cracked surface – Page 43

Cracked surface technique is supposed to be like crackle nail-polish! This project took a couple days. The crackle paste needs to set and dry for at least 24 hrs. I left it for the weekend to make sure it was completely dry before painting on top. With the painting part of the project, I was pretty lazy with the execution. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to paint, so I just painted four colours. Also, I diluted the paint with water to make the crackle effect more prominent. Be careful if you do this, you can see in my pictures, the  paint kept picking up on my brush, since it was wet. Other than my painting mistake, the instructions were clear and simple. The project is very easy, anyone can do it! 

Translucent Colour Fields – Page 47

Again, this technique took a couple of days. Mostly the drying process stole the time. The technique is easy, it’s just layering acrylic and acrylic medium. Layering is the most time consuming. One layer of acrylic medium, let it dry, paint with acrylic paint, repeat. Very simple, yet so long. Instructions are decently clear, but I feel like it could have been worded differently, for beginners or for those who are trying the technique for the first time.

Contrasting Edges – Page 49

Extremely easy technique, little to no explanations needed. Basically, this technique is to show contrast with the acrylic. The background is more watered down and blurred using an eyedropper, toothbrush or paintbrush. And the top layer contrasts with the solid vibrant colours. 

Dry Brushing – Page 52

Title says it all! This technique is to use a dry paintbrush with barely any paint on it. The dry brush gives the painting a more unique look. I added some details to my painting using a scrapper, just so it’s not too boring. There aren’t very many instructions, but it makes sense. Again, encouraging the reader to get creative with their art.  

Plastic Wrap & Maintaining Colour Intensity – Page 66 and 99

Let’s start with the plastic wrap technique here. So, the technique is simple, pour acrylic mixed with acrylic medium, paint onto a primed support and cover with plastic wrap. The longest this technique would take, was drying. I let it dry overnight, but make sure to take off the plastic wrap while it’s wet.

The other technique used, maintaining color intensity, was very simple, only needing basic items, like a painting support and acrylic paint. This technique shows the contrast between colours. I used a darker background to enhance the vibrant yellow in my work. Instructions here are easy to follow and easy to understand.

Alcohol Dissolve – Page 67

This technique is a bit tricky, you have to move fast and swiftly. With this technique you need to dilute your acrylic paint with water, this helps with the effect. Spray rubbing alcohol onto the wet paint for a “splatter” effect. In my picture, I ended up drawing little pictures and doodling on my painting, using the shapes the alcohol made. Directions are simple and easy to follow, I recommend this technique as a science project for kids or new artists! 

Gluing Paper – Page 70

Easy as pie! Very simple, this project does not require paint, unless you want it. This is good for a crafty card, letter or postcard! Directions are easy and only two materials are required, glue and paper.

Creating Sharp Edges – Page 82

Use tape for straight lines and sharp corners. My little picture is not straight at all, I kept trying to adjust the lines and corners. But, that’s on me. This is extremely easy, no talent or skill required. Directions aren’t needed because of the simplicity, but they’re still there if needed.

Creating Controlled Ripped Edges – Page 83

Very easy, cute craft for a birthday card, postcard, ANY card! you have no limits with this craft. Instructions and demonstrations help a lot with  understanding how to commit to the piece.

Jackson Pollock Drips – Page 93

Really easy, creative and interesting technique. Also, this leaves a cool texture and 3D effect. Instructions are easy to follow and easy to understand. The painting itself takes a while to dry. So try not to touch it for at least a couple of hours.

Making Acrylic Feel Like Oil – Page 102

This technique was pretty time consuming. The texture definitely does not feel like oil paint. It’s very sticky, runny and thick at the same time. Blending colors is pretty difficult, especially since it dries and gets tacky fairly quickly. The end result is very shiny, even after drying, because of the gloss mix. With this technique, you kind of need to be a bit more creative with color blending. Using different shades and highlights throughout the picture. Another thing, I used a pallet knife for most of the painting, for texture and uniqueness. The instructions are pretty simple, nothing too confusing. Great for beginners or people transitioning to oil painting. This technique did not need many demonstration pieces. It’s good for encouraging the reader to be more creative. In the end, it was a fun process, a good project for slow days. I suggest setting a timer so you don’t spend too much time overthinking and over-correcting your piece.Take it slow, and relax. This is a project for patient people, I found myself retouching and redoing a bunch of things during this time.

Oil-Like Blending – Page 104

This technique was kind of a bust. The paint did not blend very well. Instructions were simple and seemed pretty easy. But, the execution is not the same. I personallydon’t recommend this technique if you are trying to blend small pictures, objects and people. 

To conclude, Acrylic Revolution is a great technique book for beginners. It shows somewhat advanced techniques for acrylic painting, and has a bunch of interesting information about the techniques shown. I do recommend this book to any acrylic artist. It is an encouraging book for newbies and acrylic veterans. I recommend this especially to whoever wants to practice or try out the feel of oil painting. Acrylic and oil paint are extremely different, but the oil-like techniques are fairly similar and good for transitioning. Though there were oil-like techniques that just didn’t go to plan, with practice, it will get easier. Not all techniques are available to beginners or people on a budget, but there are plenty of options and tricks in this book.

Final review:

Definitely recommend this book. Explanations, demonstrations and how-to’s are simply put in each page. Every technique takes up one page, so you aren’t always going to be reading. This is extremely helpful for less patient people!

4 out of 5 stars